Buying a car is a huge chore. You need to make sure that you make the right choice. On top of this, selling cars can be extremely difficult if you have an obnoxious customer. Let’s face it buying and selling cars is the perfect canvas for catastrophe. Here, people share their most ridiculous experiences at a car dealership.
If you want to read more, make sure to check out the source at the end of this article.
They lost my car during an appraisal for over 3 hours. I think they thought I was going to buy, but they tried to tell me the sale was over on my vehicle and were trying to negotiate down from that price. I told them never mind and that I was leaving, no more negotiating, because I am not doing business with liars. I asked for my car and they said they were appraising it and would have it ready for me. After 20 minutes, I started getting mad. The manager was hiding from me and the sales guy just laughed and said there was nothing he could do. I actually called the cops after 2 hours but got my car back before they showed up.
The car was in their ad, and I found it online before I went in. The price online mysteriously went up when we came in to negotiate.
I contacted Toyota, (it was a brand new Rav4 that I was buying), and told them about the incident, and a woman from there ended up calling me, then she forwarded me to some guy. I told them I didn’t want it from that dealer and the others didn’t have the color that I wanted. The guy helped me find the color I wanted and a dealer who was 3 hours away drove it to me to buy. Toyota covered 2k of the price. I had to pay tax on that 2k, but still, better than nothing.
My car had less than 2 extra miles on it. No idea where they had it.
A friend of mine took his Honda Ridgeline in for an oil change. The dealership accidentally drained the rear diff and didn’t refill it. He called them on the way home, saying it did not sound or drive right. “No problem, just drive it home and bring it back tomorrow.” He brings it back the next day, and the rear diff is completely ruined. They tried to blame the owner for draining it. It took many phone calls and angry letters to Honda to get sorted, but eventually was covered.
I bought a Subaru WRX new, and about a week after picking it up I noticed that the seat could rock back and forth about an inch. I brought it back to the dealer I purchased it from, and the service manager insisted it was normal. “OK,” I said, “Have the general manager grab the keys to another new one, if it’s normal I want to see another one do it.” He then tried to back peddle, but I wouldn’t hear it, went into the sales area and got the GM myself, yeah definitely not normal. I proceeded to complain out the service manager in front of the GM and a few customers. I have no sense of humor about safety issues.
Another friend had a catalytic converter fail after about 10,000 miles on a Chevy pickup truck. The dealer insisted it was not covered under warranty and the repair would be about $800, until my friend whipped out the owners manual which clearly states that FEDERAL LAW requires that emissions equipment be covered for 8 years / 80,000 miles on cars and light trucks.
One I’ve run into a few times while buying a new car, “We have to charge you a doc fee, it’s the law!” Shake my head – oh really, show me the law.
An experience my mother recently had with a dealership:
Last year she purchased a brand new Nissan Rogue, my mother is starting to get a bit older and she wanted something that was easier to get into, had all wheel drive, and was comfortable but also offered some utility, so she started looking into cross overs. I had her drive a Subaru Forrester, a Toyota Rav-4, a Ford Escape, and a Honda CR-V, and a Nissan Rogue. After driving all of them, (and my brother having some massive problems with his 2013 Ford Escape), she decided on the Rogue.
This was perfect timing, as Nissan was about to update the car with a newer model, so most dealers were pushing them out the door. So, she went to a dealership in her home town and started to check out their inventory. Long story short, she found a LOADED to the gills 2013 Rogue with all wheel drive, leather, navigation, bose stereo, sunroof, heated seats, every bell and whistle they had, and ended up driving it home for just under $28K, after haggling, THEN, throwing her friends and family discount at them, (I know someone who works for Nissan USA so I got her a discount coupon). The only caveat was that the car didn’t have remote start, and part of the deal was the dealership would install a remote start for her. THIS is where the problems all started.
This was early winter when she takes the car home, grinning from ear to ear about the perfect car she had been wanting for some time. She drives it for about 2 weeks without incident, the weather starts to get cold and she starts using her remote start when going to work, after a few days of this there was a MASSIVE snow storm here in Michigan where we got hit with over a foot of snow. My mother walks 3 blocks from her work at a hospital and the remote start they installed claimed to have said range, so when she would leave the hospital she would click the remote start, and the car would start and engage the heated seats for her. The one snowy evening she goes to her car and noticed the car hadn’t started, she goes to press the unlock button on the key fob and the car does nothing, she pulls out the emergency key to unlock the door, gets in and the car is totally dead stick, no power, absolutely nothing.
A phone call to the dealership happens, the dealer claims they will be there right away and to wait in the car so they can give her a ride home…
2 hours later they show up (the dealership is 4 miles away.), and try to jump the car, which still yields absolutely no power. So they take her home and put her behind the wheel of a Nissan Versa as a loaner car, which ticked her off. ‘Sorry your $37K car doesn’t start, here’s a $14K piece of junk to drive.’ The next day she goes to get out of her driveway, (with the foot of snow) and gets stuck at the end of her street, and now has to take a personal day from work because she can’t get the car down the street. She calls the dealership back fuming and tells them to bring her a similar car to drive and to drag to Versa back. They relent and end up peeling the plastic off of a brand new Murano and bring it to her. So far so good.
Two weeks go by and guess what? Her car is still sitting in the dealership parking lot unmoved, she decides to call the dealership, (since they didn’t communicate with her at all since the rental car debacle), and find out whats up, the dealership states that the car’s computer is dead and needs to be reprogrammed, which requires a special Nissan engineer from Ohio which would be visiting the next day. Four days go by. The dealership calls and says, “Your car is done! We had to replace the remote start as it is what caused the problem with the computer and power drain.” So she goes and gets her car, and the next day goes to the glove box to check something her her manual, and they were all missing. A call back to the dealership who says, “We don’t have them.” This goes on for a week, back and fourth phone calls stating that she never even pulled them out of the plastic yet she knew they were in there when she was showed the car during purchase. The dealership relents and orders her a new set of manuals which get shipped directly to her house.
Six months roll by, and she goes to the dealership for an oil change, the car now has 10K miles on it and has had no issues, although there are one or two dings from people at her work being irresponsible. The mechanic working on the car comes out and says, “Your car’s battery fails our diagnostic, and you need a new air filter, yours is filthy.”
Now, my mother is not a stupid person, she knows a thing or two about cars, she also has carefully read the manuals that the dealership sent her which has suggested maintenance in it. The manual suggests her air filter needs to be replaced every 30K miles or 3 years, the manual also suggests the battery needs replacement every 5 years. So she confronts her service adviser. Whom has absolutely no argument or response for why her car suddenly needs a battery and air filter. After further communication with her adviser and the manager, they found that the reason why the battery has a dead cell is due to the remote start draining the battery, which the dealer installed. So the dealership replaces the battery for free and tells her that she needs to have the remote start removed, which also ticked off my mother because it was a huge selling factor for the car. If they couldn’t have done a remote start, she wouldn’t have bought the car, GM, Honda, Toyota, Ford, all offered factory remote starts.
They remove the remote starter and tell her she will get a refund, but they can’t do it right there they will mail her a check.
4 weeks go by, no check shows up. So she calls the manager of the service department, again. Who says, “Oh yes! I have your check sitting right here on my desk.” Let me tell you, mom has the longest fuse, she is patient, she works as a head nurse in hospitality at her local hospital, this woman knows customer service and knows how to keep her cool. But after all of this nonsense that had been going on for over a year with this terrible dealership. Her next response is, “I will be there in 15 minutes.”
She gets to the dealership, (on a Saturday mind you), and requests the service manager to come speak with her. The manager comes out and suggests she come back to his office. She declines and they have their conversation in the dealership lobby, in front of about 15-20 other potential customers. She gives this guy the business about how she was sold a car under a promise that it would have a remote start, which no longer functions, that she was promised a refund that she never received, which caused her to miss days of work, left her stranded for 2 hours in the winter after working a 12 hour shift, and on top of all of the mistakes, a service adviser tried to scam her into buying a new battery and a new air filter, neither of which were suggested services and the car needed before it was even a year old.
The service manager responds with, “What is it I can do to help?” My mother responds with, “There is not one thing you can do to turn my opinion around about the way service works at your dealership as long as you manage it. Your communication is dismal, your service advisers are crooks, and you sir, are lazy. I want you fired.” After more conversation the compensation offered included; 3 of her next car payments made for her, a free full detail on her car including paintless dent removal and touch up. 10 free oil changes, and her refund check on the spot. She also got in contact with Nissan customer care through corporate, which the service manager literally begged her not to do. This is still going on so we haven’t heard what happened because of that.
This is why I hate dealerships, aside from the douchebaggery of the service department at her dealership and the crap THEY did to her car, her car has been flawless. She loves her Rogue, she loves the way it drives and handles poor driving conditions, and she loves the amount of utility she gets out of it. But she has already said, “I won’t buy another Nissan again.” and it has nothing to do with the quality of the car she bought. She has never owned any other car outside of anything made by General Motors until the Nissan, and it makes me sad that the one time she decided to go out and try something different it had to bite her in the arse as hard as it did.”
So my girlfriend was trading in her Forester and wanted to get another all wheel drive vehicle. We were shopping around for cars and trade-in value and went to our local VW Factory Dealership. We stopped in and wanted to see any all wheel drive cars they had. We checked out a couple of Golf R32s, a Touareg – too big.
We say we’d like to check out an all wheel drive Tiguan, so we head into the office to check the inventory. He pulls up the sheet on a Tiguan, its Green, all wheel drive, leather, backup camera, about 25k miles. We look it over, he writes copies down the stock number, HT5F545, and says he’ll be right back with the keys. He does, we go on a test drive, my GF does all the driving. She loves it and we head back inside and do the whole purchasing process. YAY!
Fast forward two weeks. I’m over at the girlfriend’s house and offer to go get a six pack and ask if I can take the Tiguan. I go, and on the way back I’m messing around, got the moon roof open, enjoying myself. I pull up to a stop sign. I decided to see what this 2.0T has to offer… I flip it into Tiptronic and floor it as I make a slight right…understeer. Hmmm…okay. I cruise along for a bit, downshift to get into boost and floor it again, the car jumps to the right…torque steer. This shouldn’t be happening. Something is wrong. This..this car is Four wheel drive!
I go back inside and start looking through the financial paperwork, nothing says 4Motion, but also, nothing says any other options that were on it (Nav, etc). I still have the offer sheet that we got for the Tiguan we supposedly purchased and I start looking over it, says 4motion, milage, etc. Then I come to the stock number, HTSF545. Wait. Our purchase paperwork says HT5F545. Turns out they got the keys to the wrong Tiguan when we initially went to check it out. I call them up and say, “Yeah, the car you sold us isn’t all wheel drive, how could this happen?” As he is apologizing profusely, I tell him about the error in the stock number. You’re probably saying, “That’s stupid, it should be a different car and he should have known.” Yes, he should have known, but the cars were nearly identical.
In the end, they accepted the car right back, but wanted to charge us to put a backup camera in the all wheel drive one. Uhhh…no. I basically said we came to an agreement that we were paying for a specific set of options and were comfortable with that deal, and that I was expecting them to eat the cost of moving the stereo/camera. They mulled it over and offered to give us the same exact deal on a better car.
I took my new-to-me Sport Trac in for a free oil change and tire rotation at the stealership I bought it at. All seemed to be going well, save for the fact that it took nearly two hours for them to bring the truck out to me. It was the middle of the week and I was one of a handful of customers in the lobby.
They call my name, I go out and see my sporty roll up. Then I heard a crunch and a snap and saw my truck lean.
Turns out they only hand tightened the lugs on the driver’s side rear. They ended up replacing the rear wheel and studs due to bending and a deep gouge in the wheel.
They paid for the repairs and gave me a bunch of free service vouchers. Then made me pay for the rental car.
Later on, when I tried to redeem the service vouchers, (I wanted to give them a second chance), they never answered my calls or emails.
I’m never going back to that place.
Traded in my 04 Monte Carlo for a ’06 Dodge Ram 1500 SLT. I didn’t realize I wasn’t actually approved for financing, (even after them telling me I had been approved but they were just waiting on the bank). 15 days go by, they tell me congrats I’m approved at 18% … from the 10% I was told when I was last at the dealership. I went in to sign the paperwork with the stupidly high-interest rate. When they tell me that deal fell through and they are working religiously to get me approved. They also informed me that they would be charging me 65$ a day for vehicle rental if I wasn’t approved. Then they drop the bomb they sold my Monte Carlo… so… I was basically at the mercy of the banks and dealership. They hit me with 800 bucks in rental fees, until I was finally approved at 20%. I filed a law suit against this dealership and they waved the rental fees shortly after.
I finally paid that stupid truck off last month. ’06 with 130k miles on it, but at least I own it and it’s worth a decent amount of cash. Worst loan ever.
From the other side:
We had a weird woman come to buy a Cabrio for her daughter who was getting ready to go to college. As I recall, it was the end of Winter, and VW Cabrio inventory was virtually nil. Our dealer had a really folksy older sweet sales guy who could get along with most anybody. He searched all the dealers within 100 miles and finally after much back and forth between him, the other dealer, and the customer, they made an agreement. During this, the woman hung up on him, screamed at him, and was generally an evil human being. The first sales guy gave up and wouldn’t work with her anymore. The deal was then passed to a super mellow older African American fellow. The woman vacillated between going ahead with the trade, and not going ahead. She reneged on the deal several times, and the margin on the deal was so low that it was known as a ‘mini’, (at the time, $37.00 commission), so motivation wasn’t all that high. The problem was she had been rudely bounced out of every VW dealership in the greater LA area, and since we were the most civil, she kept coming back. Of course, the concern, (and hope), was that the car at the other dealer would be sold out from under her, but no such luck. We told her where the car was, in hopes that she’d just go there and buy it directly, but apparently, she’d burned her bridges there. Finally, she accused the second salesperson of making advances towards her daughter, (who wasn’t very attractive, but clearly embarrassed by Mom)! So she was finally passed to me. I went and got the car taking a few hours off the floor to fetch it all for half a deal.
During delivery, she kept insulting me and making digs at everyone else within earshot at the dealer taking turns calling people losers and lowlifes even though they had not given her any reason or had any contact with her up to that point. Her behavior was beyond baffling.
The car she wanted had a tan interior, and the nap had twisted back forth by the vacuum head passing over it. She claimed at first the carpet was defective and wanted replacements, and when I leaned down and brushed the carpet so the nap lay evenly, she insisted it was dirty, and needed to be vacuumed again – personally by myself.
The owner of the dealership was lurking behind the bushes as I did the final send-off, and after she threw a few more choice insults at me, I told her something to the effect that despicable we may have been in her eyes, at least we weren’t as miserable as her. With that, I tossed the keys to her daughter and walked away, with the woman still screeching about wanting to speak to the owner. He stepped from behind the shrubs and asked her to leave before he felt compelled to call the police. Whew!
In 15 years of sales and service, I’ve learned that some people aren’t worth making happy, and some are impossible to make happy.
I used to work for a premier Mercedes-Benz dealership in Texas. This dealership has been known for making sure the customer always gets what they want. Being a Mercedes dealership we have some pretty high-value customers that come through the doors. One day an S65 was towed in on a trailer. The owner proceeded to get out and tell us the story of his tragic experience with another dealership. The owner was driving his S65 and got a flat. So he called road side and the other dealership came and put a spare on so he could drive to the dealership to get it replaced.
After arriving he was told it was time for an oil change so he said just go ahead and do both. Being that the owner has a pretty extensive car collection he declined the loaner car they wanted to give him.
After a week went by and no call, the owner called the dealership to ask what the deal was, it was a tire and oil change… The dealership told him that the tire had still not arrived and should arrive in the upcoming week. A month went by and the owner was fed up.
The tire and oil had not been done and there was no communication between the dealership and him. So he called and told them he was coming to get it that day. Upon arrival he saw his 2013 S65 Mercedes with a cracked wind shield, two windows broken, and dents all over the car. A dust storm in southern Texas took its toll on all the cars on the lot. Keep in mind, the cars we parked in a dirt parking lot, no cover or actually concrete. The customer picked up the car and took it to our dealership. He also told us that he was planning on suing the dealership for the damages and more.